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Amazon Alexa can play Christmas music, control lights and more



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Your Amazon Echo is super handy during the holidays.


Angela Lang / CNET

Your Amazon Echo can make your holidays magical by playing your favorite Christmas songs shopping for gifts and to keep your family entertained . And Alexa can do so much more to make your holiday festive. For example, Alexa can make you feel like Clark Griswold you are by turning on all Christmas lights with just one command ̵

1; without the overall blackout, of course. Amazon's voice assistant can also let you know when the gifts you purchased will arrive.

You can use these Alexa skills to impress your family – even if they can't make it to the holidays this year. These features require little or no installation, and they are super easy to use. Keep reading to find fun Amazon Echo hacks you can use for the holidays.

Read more: Best smart plugs for 2019

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Check your smart lights with Alexa

Too cold to go out and unplug all the lights you have strung around your house? No problem – you can automate the lights to immediately turn on and off at specific times with the Alexa app. For example, you might just want the lights to be on when it's dark, so program them to turn on at sunset and turn off at sunrise. Or you can set specific times, such as turning on at 6pm. and by 7 o'clock and if you have a Christmas tree set up in your house you can also automate the lights for that too. Note that you need a smart plug ($ 25 at Amazon) for this to work.

first Open the Alexa app and select Routines from the menu.

2nd Touch the Plus icon to add a new routine.

3rd Select When this happens .

4th Touch Schedule .

5th Select Sunrise or Sunset and select the days you want this routine to happen. Click Next .

6th Click Add Action .

7th Select Smart Home and press All Devices .

8th From here you select the smart connector that is connected to your lamps. Then switch the power switch to On or Off depending on the schedule you set. Click Next and then Save .

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Angela Lang / CNET

Track your gift purchases

If you are curious about when a gift will come to your house from Amazon, you can ask Alexa to track your package. Just say, "Alexa, where are my packages?" and it lets you know when they're expected to arrive. Your Echos ring light will also light yellow when there is a message about a package that has arrived or is on the way.

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Angela Lang / CNET

Playing Christmas Music

Nothing makes wrapping gifts (and unpacking them!) More exciting than having your favorite Christmas songs play on your Echo device in the background. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can just say "Alexa, play Christmas songs." If you are not, you can always connect your desired music streaming service through the Alexa app – or just download the Christmas radio skills.

Alexa can send greeting cards for holidays

OK, so Alexa can't send physical holiday greeting cards, but the voice assistant can send digital greetings to other Alexa devices. You must go to the Alexa Skill Blueprints page and select Hallmark Holiday Greeting . Then you can choose a greeting that best suits you and customize it with a personal message or recording. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your greeting.

When you are ready to send the holiday greeting to your loved ones, click on Share with others . Recipients will need to activate the skill on their Alexa device, and once installed, they just need to say, "Alexa, open Holiday Greeting." Now they can hear your message.

More vacation commands to give Alexa

Also test these Alexa commands for Alexa:

  • "Alexa, how many days until Christmas?"
  • "Alexa, play Christmas sounds."
  • "Alexa, Christmas tree."
  • "Alexa, read the night before Christmas."
  • "Alexa, add apple pie to my shopping list."

Ready for more Amazon Echo Tips? Check out these five surprising things you didn't know that Amazon Echo could do and four places in your home should you never place your Amazon Echo .





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Originally published earlier this month.


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